In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Home. Really.

It's a magical day. Neil Raphel and Janis Raye of Brigantine Media agreed today to publish my YA adventure, THE HUNGRY PLACE. The contract is signed.

But way more important than the contract is this: We three sat at Neil and Janis's table and for the first time in the life of this book, I heard someone other than me and my thoughts say, "Shawna is so cool, and here's what I want to know about Thea."

After living for two years with Shawna and Thea and their families and neighbors in my life, only my life,  it's like opening a door into a room where you've never been, and finding that the person on the other side of the door knows -- knows really, really well -- your sister or your brother or your best friend. You're home, in a new place, and the smile in front of you touches your heart.

Photo here: Old North Church in winter, not far from where Shawna and Thea "live" in North Danville, Vermont. With luck and hard work, you'll all get to "meet" these feisty teens in 2011. Watch for news, as Neil and Janis and editor Adrienne and I move "the girls" toward publication. Hurrah!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To Every Thing There Is a Season ...

After completing COLD MIDNIGHT last month, I'm taking a break for poetry, walks in the woods, and of course family and friends during the holidays.  In January, I'll start writing THE FIRE CURSE -- and meanwhile I've pinned lots of related material onto my work walls.

Temperatures are plunging, now that we have snow on the ground. Here's a related poem from my collection Mud Season at the Castle.

Ten-Below-Zero Morning

Even inside the windows, the frost
glares back at me in the early morning --
this is the try-your-souls cold weather
striking the house with stiffness that groans
like a car engine far too depressed
to spark into life.

God's gift to the morning must be coffee.
Clutching a steaming mug, blowing
my breath on the frosted window, I clear
a space -- a hole to look through
and eye the thermometer's short red line
squatting at ten below zero.
My knees ache in sympathy.
Oh coffee, warm me and wake me slowly
spread heat in my belly, let courage
rise to my eyes.

Bitter arctic weather with wind:
long johns and turtleneck, sweater and corduroys
thick fuzzy socks and fleece-lined boots.
I wrap myself in simple comforts
gaze at the bright blue sunstruck sky
and try to hold breath and heat and life
inside my woolly garments.

These days when the sun is low and lukewarm
these days when the wind steals the fire's delight
are days when I call you to hear your voice
for heat in my heart and a sort of leap
like coffee waking the courage
into my eyes.